digital fun for creative kids

Coding

If you’re reading this guide, chances are your kid has played a video game or two — or 20. These cool apps, video games, and websites encourage kids to start thinking more like the creators of their favorite digital titles — not just consumers.

LittleBigPlanet Karting

AGE 8
LEARNING

4

This family-friendly kart racing game engages kids in building their own video games. Younger kids can exercise their imagination by customizing avatars and karts, and can learn to build simple tracks. Older kids can get into more complex game-making techniques.

LittleBigPlanet Karting Review

LittleBigPlanet – PS Vita

AGE 8
LEARNING

5

Kids let loose their creativity as they learn about game design in this wonderful platform adventure. Applying logic in the creation of virtual worlds, creatures, and objectives, kids can build just about any kind of game they want, and then share it with others.

LittleBigPlanet - PS Vita Review

Scratch

AGE 8
LEARNING

4

As kids create animations, video games, art, and music videos with Scratch’s visual block-based form of computer programming, they pick up valuable skills such as problem solving. Collaboration is encouraged, and kids can give helpful comments on one another’s projects.

Scratch Review

My Robot Friend

AGE 9
LEARNING

4

Kids program a robot’s moves by moving the right cards into place to direct him where he needs to go. This fun puzzler gets kids thinking critically and strategically to solve problems and write programs; they’ll work with directionality and negative numbers, too.

My Robot Friend Review

Cargo-Bot

AGE 10
LEARNING

4

In this puzzler designed to teach programming, kids drag and drop directions to get a robotic arm to perform a task. They’ll learn the gist of programming concepts like procedural abstraction and subroutines without having to master the lingo or syntax of code.

Cargo-Bot Review

Gamestar Mechanic

AGE 10
LEARNING

5

This web-based video game with its own online community teaches kids the fundamentals of game design through an epic adventure-based plot. Kids can create their own video games, a process that teaches kids to think both
mathematically and creatively at the same time.

Gamestar Mechanic Review

Hopscotch HD

AGE 10
LEARNING

3

In this gentle introduction to programming logic, kids use visual blocks that represent programming concepts to create their program –- a game or animation, for example. Kids are exposed to the ideas they’ll use in programming without focusing on minute details.

Hopscotch HD Review

Move the Turtle. Programming for kids

AGE 10
LEARNING

3

This app builds some coding basics into a colorful game starring a cute turtle. Younger kids will need a parent’s help, but tweens and teens can easily pick up basics such as how to draw a line or box. Step-by-step programming requires lots of critical thinking, too.

Move the Turtle. Programming for kids Review

Roblox

AGE 10
LEARNING

3

Roblox gives kids the opportunity to design virtual worlds and games, from simple mazes to more complex cityscapes. Kids can also get user feedback on their work (via safe chat mode if they’re 13 and under) and try out other users’ games in a multiplayer environment.

Roblox Review

Terraria

AGE 11
LEARNING

3

Exploration, discovery, and creation are the focus of this sandbox-style adventure that has kids learning about geology, mining, construction, and conservation as they determine how different materials can be harvested and
used to create objects useful to humans.

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